Palm ‘holds secrets of future health’ – BBC News
May 14, 2015
The chances of having a heart attack, stroke or dying young may be hidden in the palm of the hand, a study suggests.
A trial on nearly 140,000 people in 14 countries, published in the Lancet, suggests grip strength is better than blood pressure at predicting risk.
The international research team said it would be a “simple, inexpensive” tool for doctors.
Experts argued the link between grip and the heart was unclear and needed more study.
The maximum crushing force you can exert in your grip naturally declines with age.
But those whose grip strength declines fastest may be at greater risk of health problems, the study suggests.
Women in their mid-20s have a grip strength about 75lb (34kg), which falls to 53lb in a 70-year-old.
The equivalent figures for men are 119lb (54kg) falling to 84lb.
The huge trial, in 14 countries, showed each 11lb (5kg) reduction in grip strength increased the odds of an early death by 16%.
The odds of a fatal heart problem increased by 17% and a stroke by 9%.
Doctors currently calculate the chances of a heart attack or stroke by filling out a questionnaire with the patient by assessing age, whether they smoke, obesity, cholesterol levels, blood pressure where they live and family history.
The researchers argue grip strength makes more accurate predictions than blood pressure alone and could be a new tool for assessing risk.